Gearing up for my second North American Championships in Enumclaw was a bit different for me this year. First off, I have a solid program thanks to Matt Vincent’s Training Lab to follow. Yes, I’ve tweaked it a bit but only with the deadlifts. Other than that (for me, can’t do high volume deadlifts) it’s solid. Along with that, I finally am understanding more of the technical parts of the throws. So when someone says “block” to me, I understand what they mean. I still need to get my body to do it, but I’m getting there. Therefore, practices are more efficient. Helpful.
I’ve already talked about my Saturday, I’m not going to revisit it. What I WHILL say is that in spite of a bad day, there were some high points to it. Breakfast at the Kettle, recommended by Big Daddy, didn’t disappoint. I think I ate about 4 ounces of my 2# breakfast. Cheery service and pleasant energy is a good way to start the day. Getting Bobby Dodd hugs as we got on the field was also a treat. Sometimes seeing people only once a year makes me want more, but I’ll take what I can get. I volunteered in the morning and got to see the elite ladies throw a few events. Watching the likes of Adrian Wilson and Danielle Curry launch the stones is something north of amazing. So powerful yet the mechanics are so solid. LeSigh. Watching Beth Burton catapult the distance weights is mind boggling. How. Do. They. Go. So. Far????? OH! The sunny Cali girl (and badass thrower), Heather Mac showed me her sporting of the Arnold Games patch I had made for prizes for the ladies last March. So of course Games Minion wanted in on some action…
I was able to peek across the field and watch Matt throw a bit. Send him a quick cue here and there; eyes up! Heh. The PNW Peterson Clan made their way over and spending a day with them is always a gift. No Viking horn this year but hopefully we’ll dig it out for next year. Heehee. I got to pull tape for the Pro’s hammer throw and I picked up some good pointers to work on here at home by watching them. AND work with Bobby a bit more, that’s always fun. Wally had me off the field to relax by lunchtime and I got to hang out with the family. Watching Oz run around with my cousin’s kids (what’s that make them? 2nd cousins? I dunno how that works) was lots of fun too. Of course the sword tents were very popular with the boys.
Having my wallet stolen at some point in the afternoon was less fun. Luckily Matt found it in the Lost & Found the next morning. Minus the cash that was in it but I’ll consider it a success that everything else was intact and I didn’t have to run around chasing ID’s and Credit Cards and dance with the Seatac TSA on my way out. Phew. Seeing our friend’s Scott & Sally (actually we’re spoiled because we got to have dinner with Scott on Friday night) is always a pleasure and as I mentioned before, our quiet Saturday evening with Madame Rainier looking on was exactly what was needed to rest and grieve.
Anyways. On to the throwing part.
I had my goals. Realistic and if a few bounces went my way, maybe I could pull off a first place finish this year. I knew it would be tough throwing against standing Champ Mona Malec. Mona is a great competitor and has these long levers that have me considering a stretch rack to achieve (but not really.) So watching her stretch and reach is pretty cool. Booooo being short. Heh.
We opened up with the Braemar stone. Giddyup. I do okay in this one and had a field record from last year in it. On my last throw I got a nice push and a PR and a new field record. Good start. Our heavy weight for distance was next up. This is the first year Wally had the Masters Ladies throw the 21# for HWD & WOB. My first toss was ok, get the jitters out and work the trig. At the end of it, I had another 1st place with 47′ and change. I’ll take it. I’m still not where I want to be with the distance throws but they’re coming along.
I was pleased with the start but knew I would lose some points in the next couple of events. My hammer is consistent so that’s good. That it’s consistently bad isn’t so good. I took 2nd and had a much better showing than last year. This is where I thought I would be.
Onto the caber toss. As I’ve mentioned either here or in my log (keeping multiple things going is hard for this geriatric sometimes) my caber skills are on the rise. I’m still learning a lot but have a lot more confidence going into the event than I have in the past. Our log was a beaut. A bit more than 13′ and I believe 56#. Perfect. My picks were decent, I had one that I had to wrestle with a bit but each one turned. The problem was, they turned all over the place. Afterwards, I got some great advice from the side judge (thank you SO much Christy) so I know what I did wrong. But my fourth place finish all but guaranteed that a Championship would have to be postponed for another year. Crap.
As we broke for lunch, I was a bit low. Going back and forth with Mona the rest of the day would ensure that I wouldn’t be able to catch back up. Have I said ‘crap’ yet? I meant FOK. True story. During lunch, we got to watch the Pro’s during their Sheaf toss challenge and listen to their trash talk. That perked me up. Jeremy Gillingham’s chill self was also as entertaining as always and seeing a friendly, Midwestern throwing face is always fun. I ain’t got time to pout. On to the WOB.
Just typing WOB causes me anxiety. One of my strongest events, I have completely gotten out of my groove. I failed to hit my opener a few weeks ago and barely made this one at 13′. I was out by 14. Crap. I’d just hit 17 earlier in June and have no idea what’s happened to it. I DO know that I have zero confidence in it and that needs to change. I completely panicked and wanted to run off to the side and throw WOB until my hands bled. True story. Kinda like my own punishment. It was an immature and unsportsman like reaction. I’m not proud of that. That’s all I’ll say. I took 2nd, as I knew I would seeing as how Mona’s WOB is a record 19 feet plus a couple of inches. But I need to get my shit straight on this one.
Next up was sheaf. Now, this has been a tough event for me to understand but it’s coming along. I hit my opener of 16′ but it took a couple tries. 18′ was made but I know not on the first try. Luckily for me, the others were out by now so I relaxed a bit and hit 20′ on the first go. I didn’t make 22′ but know what I need to do in the future to hit it. I’ll get some great practice in my next few games and having Jason Clevenger there to give a quick sheaf cue is always a comfort. I didn’t break the field record of 21′ but a first perked me up a bit going into our last two events.
Our light weight for distance went back and forth between me and Mona and I felt lucky that I pulled out a win. I still wonder how to make this thing go further. It’ll need to go further in Scotland.
Which came down to our open stone. Last event. Winner takes all. All on the line. Eye of the tiger (I ran out of cliches and needed another one.) But foShizzle. Whoever wins this one, Mona or I, wins the day. And she got me on her last throw. Well done.
And that’s competition. Win some, lose some. Get some good bounces, like at the Arnold, and eek out a win by 1 1/2 points. The other guy gets some good bounces and they beat YOU by 1.5 points. That’s how it goes. I whill say I believe I’m square now on the competition karma scale so Scotland will be starting from a clean slate. Hope so anyway. Heh. I actually had a really good day on the field and though struggled in my WOB and Caber, had some nice PR’s and learned tons. That’s a success and I’ll take it.
OH! One of my goals for the weekend was to get a Games Minion/Vincent brothers pic. They didn’t disappoint…
I’ll refrain from mentioning what was happening right before this pic was snapped. Suffice it to say, the Games Minion is now in an intense in-patient therapy program and will hopefully be recovered by our next Games.
Congratulations to Mona for the win and to my other competitors for a great day, lots of PR’s, and tons of fun. Thank you SO much to Wally Olecik for giving me this opportunity to throw on his field again. The Queen, our shaggers, lunch providers, and other volunteers who helped make this such a great event. Our judge, Bob Ham. What a gem he is. Helpful and professional with warmth and a supportive spirit. Bobby Dodd for checking in on me after lunch when I was dealing with a panicked call from my crying daughter saying our OTHER dog had gotten out of our fenced yard and was gone. She came home thank goodness but we’ve just really had enough dog stress for one weekend. Anyways, Bobby walked over before the WOB and asked if I was okay based on my body language during Zandra’s tense calls. That was above and beyond and I won’t forget it. Thank you to Grant Oliver for his advice on various events. (I hear you on the hammer about the hips, believe me, I just can’t make them do it;) Thank you to Mona for her hugs. She happened to walk by on Saturday just as I was getting off the phone with Zandra when our Preacher was put to sleep and noticed my tears. When we told her what had happened, her hugs were strong and peaceful at the same time. Thanks also to Adrian Wilson for HER support on Sunday morning even though she and her husband had just gone through the exact same thing while she was on the road. Maybe her Boss and our Preacher are running around together over the rainbow swapping gym dog stories with each other. That’s a fun thought.
But most of all, thanks to my wonderful husband. I don’t suppose I can say anything new about how wonderful and supportive he is. All I know is I wouldn’t be half the thrower (or person for that matter) I am without him. You da man Bigg. Love you.
It’s like deja-vu all over again.